We are home from Singapore. I have a wealth of material I’ll blog you all to boredom with over the next few weeks, but right now I’m planning to just luxuriate in SINGAPORE for a few lines.
What a place. I had worried myself into knots in the weeks leading up to our trip. I was worried about being in an aircraft for near-on 14 hours with a sensitive 3 year old. I was worried about how all of us would deal with the humidity. I was seriously concerned Blake would not deal with jetlag and we would find ourselves sitting miserably four days in with an awful farting laughing you-frittered-your-savings-on-this trumpeting elephant in the corner.
And so I’d gone all out denial. I had done barely any research beyond asking a couple of people for recommendations of things to do out there, and of those the only thing I had actually looked up, in a moment of weakness, was Gardens by the Bay.
‘If you are unprepared, you cannot be disappointed’ was my mantra, chanted sternly and steadily to myself during 3am anxiety attacks, immediately after people asked about the trip, and at regular intervals throughout the three weeks leading up to fly-day. ‘If you don’t research it, then you won’t know what you’re missing.’
(It’s really great being married to me by the way – you should all just take 2 minutes to envy James and the life he must lead being married to this mellow, positive spirit right here.)
So I knew virtually nothing about Singapore when we landed. And boy, did I quickly fall in love. It’s not for everyone but it is very much my cup of Twinings Everyday. What an amazing place. Strange and yet familiar, so clean you could lick the pavement if you felt so inclined (actually, don’t do that, we didn’t see any but there are cockroaches), friendly people, cultural melting pot, family friendly, visually spectacular – I could easily go on all day. We’ll skip over the price of booze.
I think what I liked most about it, and this was really unexpected to me, was that the Singaporeans are big on fun. I don’t really know why this was a surprise – a random preconception I’d quietly nurtured, but I expected a place that was hi-tech and clinical and a bit up tight. What I found was a tropical island where they are big on fun. An Island built entirely about fun you say? We give you Sentosa. Random bits of sea bobbing about between shipping lanes? We will reclaim them and build you places for leisure. These are a people who conceived the idea of Supertrees and the Cloud Forest, the Singapore Flyer and Marina Bay Sands, and all manner of other things that are there to be enjoyed.
When we’re not binge drinking, I often think we’re a bit stuffy over here in the UK, a little bit uptight and worried and unable to really let go and enjoy the moment. Maybe that’s just me. Regardless, Singapore is all about the moment. I found myself unexpectedly emotional at several points during our break because I was having such a good time, or because I was just blown away by the place these peoples have built. I’m not sure there are many places where they could come up with the idea of Supertrees. Made of a sort of mesh, they light up at night and you can shuttle up them and walk between them on a treetop platform, gazing out at Singapore. Sounds a bit gaudy in writing but the reality was completely breath-taking and I found myself saying over and over to James ‘I’m not sure I’ll ever see anything like this again.’
I think that was the nub of what made this trip the holiday of a lifetime – knowing that this is a place entirely in its own right – a place that is somehow familiar and yet different, captivating and unique and engaging and truly extraordinary. I will never forget it.
dazedandmumfused is on Twitter @dazednmumfused and Instagram: dazedandmumfused